Posted in Fiction, Intermediate, picture books

A change in perspective: Mr. Posey’s New Glasses

Mr. Posey’s New Glasses, by Ted Kooser/Illustrated by Daniel Duncan, (Apr. 2019, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9780763696092

Ages 6-9

Mr. Posey is an older gent who’s feeling down. When he puts his glasses on, everything looks boring. Everything is just the same, same, same, and he wants to do something about it! He heads to the thrift store with his young friend, Andy, and starts trying on glasses from a big barrel, with… interesting results. The star-shaped glasses transport him to a field, where he can see all the constellations in the night sky, but it’s much too dark for him. The stripy brown frames bring him underwater, where some mean-looking fish swim around him, menacingly. The big, round lenses send the room spinning, and the cat=shaped frames put him in a field, pursued by dogs! Nothing clicks for him, no matter how many frames he tries on – and then, Andy notices that his glasses are dirty. Once Mr. Posey cleans his glasses, everything is clear and colorful again! Mr. Posey’s New Glasses is all about how we see things; what filters we have in place that color how we enjoy – or are brought down by – the world around us. There’s a lovely inter-generational friendship between Mr. Posey and his young friend, Andy; Andy also helps give Mr. Posey some perspective, noticing his dirty glasses and rejuvenating his attitude. The story is fun, and meatier than most picture books; this one is good for first to third graders. The digital artwork is tinged with a tan overlay and muted colors for most of the book, letting readers experience things as Mr. Posey does, but once he clears his glasses up, color becomes more lively, with pink store signs, blue skies, and colorful buildings. The thrift store is eclectic and has a great feel to it. This is a great book to start a discussion on how one’s outlook can affect mood, and how imagination can help spice things up. (Psst… glasses craft!)

Ted Kooser is a former US Poet Laureate and has a weekly column on American life in poetry available on his website.

 

Posted in Fiction, Middle School, Tween Reads

Book Review: How to Rock Braces and Glasses, by Meg Haston (Little, Brown, 2011)

Recommended for ages 10-13

Eighth grader Kacey Simon doesn’t think she’s a mean girl, she’s just brutally honest like a good journalist should be. Life is pretty good for Kacey until the tables are turned when a series of accidents leave her stuck with glasses and braces. Within a day, she goes from A-list to D-list as her cool girl friends pretend she doesn’t exist, she’s dropped from her school news segment and the lead in the school play. Her best friend seizes the opportunity to wrest the cool reins and goes on the attack, and a cruel YouTube video makes the rounds in school.

Alone for the first time, Kacey ends up teaming up with a former friend, Paige and emo musician Zander (aka Skinny Jeans) to get her popularity back. Along the way, Kacey learns that she may have been a mean girl after all – or just misunderstood.

The book is shallow, with an unlikeable heroine¬†written to be likeable. Haston’s message of being real gets garbled; it’s as if the author herself is unsure of whether Kacey’s behavior pre-braces is reprehensible or defensible. I did not come away with the true feeling that she learned her lesson at the end of the day; rather, she just learned to find loopholes and how to use people to get her way. It sends out mixed messages.

Tween marketing powerhouse Alloy Entertainment packaged this title and the book has already been optioned to be a new Nickelodeon show, How to Rock, to air in 2012. Author Meg Haston’s website¬†links to her blog and information about the book; she also has a Twitter feed. There is also an iTunes app that lets users take photos of themselves or friends and try on different braces and glasses combinations.